In my recent move across the country from Toronto to Victoria, I was hit with a hard realization about consumerism: Humans collect and dispose of too “stuff.”
Although my partner and I made a conscious effort not to accumulate unnecessary things in our tiny Torontonian condo, even the bare essentials proved to be a challenge to get rid of. We had to sell pretty much everything we had accrued during our few years in Toronto in order to make the cross-country jump as simple as possible (minus the Vitamix and coffee machine, for obvious reasons).
Once we had gotten our belongings down to nearly zero, we caught a flight to Victoria where it was soon time to build our assets up yet again. Sigh.
I became nauseous at the idea of throwing down thousands of dollars on furniture and household items, but even more sickened by the amount of garbage we were creating by stocking our new pad with only the bare essentials. Luckily, my handy partner put his creative skills to the test and built our kitchen table, along with my office desk.
After unpacking all of our new things, such as a toaster, salad spinner, wok, and other kitchen utensils, along with a couch, a bed, and some groceries, we were left with a pile of waste too shameful to look at. Plastic, cardboard, and other various disposables filled our different waste and recycle bins, oozing guilt and ecological disappointment.
Then the thought crept into my head: nearly everyone out there has all of this stuff and more. And some a LOT more than others. Every person in our society creates this amount of waste on the regular. And even with the compiled efforts of recycling programs worldwide, are we really keeping up, considering the vast amount of material goods currently being consumed by the global population?
Technological innovation and clever marketing has perpetuated a cultural appetite for the latest and greatest, but at what ecological expense?
Sadly, the consequences of the latter may only ever be witnessed down the road by the newest generation of consumers, and the solutions to these issues may only every be tackled by the same generation.
This notion was the inspiration behind a recent project from Massachusetts-based creative research firm, Latitude, who went to children across the globe with the pressing questions about global waste management. Researchers wanted answers for the following three questions:
- How much do children know about the journey of trash once it’s thrown away?
- How do children think we can reduce and re-use trash more intelligently?
- What possibilities do “digital natives” see for technology to create a more sustainable future?
Some of the kids’ answers were adorably brilliant, while others may be considered far-fetched, but regardless, these pictures give us a glimmer of hope for the future of our planet. Check out their creative responses below!
An indestructible cell-phone.
What are your thoughts on these imaginative solutions? Are any of these kids on to something? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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